Volume 5 Number 14
April 4, 2008
Standing on the balcony of a motel in
Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. embodied the spirit of a
courageous nation—a nation with the courage to throw off the chains of
oppression, inadequate representation, and despair.
Through his message of hope, acceptance, and equality, Dr. King rallied
our country from the depths of a disparate past into an era recognizing
the wisdom carved into our nation’s founding document –that “all men are
created equal.” Recognizing a mountain of adversity, he lifted his eyes
to the peak of the mountain. King was a visionary, a hero, an American
who inspires us today as much as he inspired our country four decades
Today, on the 40th anniversary of his assassination, we recognize the
undeniable impact of Dr. King’s legacy. We heed his call for unity, a
call that the forces of ignorance and hatred failed to silence on April
4, 1968. Please join us in remembering the man, and the courage, of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
CFO SINK TURNS UP THE HEAT ON THIEVES
STEALING ESSENTIAL FIRE EQUIPMENT
Theft of Sprinkler Backflows from Commercial Buildings Jeopardizes Public
Florida State Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced
the arrest of two men in connection with the theft of meters on fire
department sprinkler backflows throughout Broward and Dade Counties. Fire
sprinkler backflows provide essential water to sprinkler systems in
commercial buildings, a life-saving resource in the event of a fire
“These individuals knowingly put hundreds of lives in danger,” said State
Fire Marshal Alex Sink. “I commend our State Fire Marshal’s Office for their
diligence in pursuing these criminals willing to put the public at risk for
their own petty benefit.”
A multi-agency investigation, including the Plantation Fire Department and
the State Fire Marshal’s Office, led to the arrest of Brian Williams, 30,
charged with six counts of grand theft, six counts of tampering with fire
equipment, and one count of violating probation; and Kevin Durkin, 48,
charged with four counts of grand theft and four counts of tampering with
See if you're eligible for a stimulus payment and how much
you can expect to receive.
Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator
While Floridians already filing a 2007 tax return do not need to take
any additional steps to receive their federal economic stimulus
payments, the IRS estimates this special filing requirement affects
approximately 1.5 million Floridians receiving Social Security, certain
Veterans’ and Railroad Retirement benefits, and low-income workers.
For additional information on the special guidelines, please see IRS
Fact Sheet FS 2008-16 Stimulus Payments: Instructions for Low-Income
Workers and Recipients of Social Security and Certain Veterans’
Benefits, available online at
You may qualify for the Earned Income Tax
Credit, or EITC, if you worked last year, but did not earn a lot of money.
EITC is a refundable tax credit - meaning that you could qualify for a
tax refund even if you did not have federal income tax withheld.
qualify for the credit, you must:
- Have a valid Social Security Number (if you are filing a
joint return, your spouse also must have a valid Social
- Have earned income from employment or from
- Have a filing status other than married, filing
- Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year, or a
nonresident alien married to a U.S. citizen or resident
alien and filing a joint return
- Not be a qualifying child of another person (if you are
filing a joint return, your spouse also can not be a
- Not file Form 2555 or 2555-EZ (related to
foreign earned income), and
- Have a qualifying child OR:
- be age 25 but under 65 at the end of the year
- live in the United States for more than half the
- not qualify as a dependent of another person
Earned Income Credit. Find out if you are eligible for the
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by answering some questions and providing
basic income information using the
EITC Assistant, available in English
CFO Sink greeted the Girl Scouts for a friendly
chat on the steps of the Old Capitol this past week. The Girl Scouts were in
town to see and experience Florida government first-hand.
FLORIDA GIRL SCOUT
LEGISLATIVE NETWORK VISITS TALLAHASSEE
CFO Sink visited with
the Florida Girl Scouts Legislative Network in the Capitol courtyard
this week. Each year, Florida Girl Scouts, Girl Scout Troop Leaders,
Girl Scout Council members and Florida Girl Scout Legislative Network
representatives from throughout the state arrive at the Capitol and
participate in mock legislative sessions and visit with legislators from
their districts. For 2008, the Legislative Days included a Statewide
Girls Leadership Conference held the weekend of March 29-30.
STATEMENT BY CFO SINK ON THE SENATE PASSAGE OF THE ANNUITY
Legislation Targets Agents Using Predatory Annuity and Life Insurance
Practices Against Seniors
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink congratulated members of the
Florida Senate for unanimously passing legislation (SB 2082) that
comprehensively addresses the issue of annuity fraud, including
strengthening penalties against agents who target Floridians, especially
seniors and the mentally-disabled, using predatory annuity and life
“We need to deter and punish manipulative agents committing financially
devastating crimes on Florida’s seniors,” said CFO Alex Sink, who oversees
the Department of Financial Services. “I applaud Senate President Pruitt
and Senator Bennett for their leadership and for helping my department
reduce this widespread and growing problem.”
The House Companion, HB 1003, sponsored by State Rep. Clay Ford
(R-Pensacola), after unanimously passing the Committee on Financial
Institutions, is currently in the House Jobs & Entrepreneurship Council.
STATEMENT BY CFO SINK ON SENATE COMMITTEE’S
PASSAGE OF CAT FUND PROPOSAL
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex
Sink applauded the Florida Senate Committee on Governmental Operations
for unanimously passing Senate Bill 2156 by State Senator Bill Posey
(R-Rockledge), which reduces the amount of exposure Florida’s consumers
have to hurricanes.
“I thank Senator Al Lawson, Senator Bill Posey, and their Senate
colleagues for their leadership and support of this bipartisan proposal
to reduce the risk of hurricane assessments on Floridians and
businesses. With their support, we will eliminate the risk of $5.5
billion in hurricane assessments if we have a bad storm.”
The companion bill is HB 7021, sponsored by State Representative Ron
ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS OF
FLORIDA MEET IN TALLAHASSEE
CFO Sink addressed the
Tallahassee Legislative Conference and Board of Directors meeting of the
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida.
ABC of Florida is a partnership of the
Florida chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors,
representing the interests of over 2,500 commercial, industrial and
institutional merit contractors, suppliers and industry professionals
and their tens of thousands of employees.
CFO SINK LEADS ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH
INSURANCE CONSUMER ADVOCATES ON PROPERTY AND HEALTH INSURANCE
CFO Alex Sink met with leading insurance consumer advocates from around the
country this week in Orlando at the National Association of Insurance
Commissioners spring meeting. CFO Sink appoints Florida’s Insurance Consumer
Advocate, and serves as a watchdog for Floridians on a number of insurance
issues – including improving access to affordable property insurance and
Bill Newton from the Florida Consumer Action Network
organized the meeting. “The consumer representatives appreciated the
opportunity to meet with the CFO.” Newton said. “We had a productive and
useful dialogue. The CFO shares our concerns regarding the needs of
insurance consumers and wants to work with consumers on improving access to
affordable property and health insurance.”
Chief of Staff Jim Cassady and CFO Sink talk with an ACORN member at the
Capitol this week.
CFO SINK MEETS WITH FLORIDIANS FACING FORECLOSURE
CFO Sink met this week with Floridians facing
foreclosure, who had traveled to the state Capitol with members of ACORN,
the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
CFO Sink met with the homeowners to learn about their experiences and
discuss the challenges facing Floridians in the foreclosure process.
ACORN members traveled to Tallahassee with these
homeowners so their voices could be heard. ACORN
nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income
families, working together for social justice and stronger communities.
USF alumnus Rep. Ron Reagan visits with the USF intern group.
BULLS STAMPEDE THE STATE CAPITOL, MEET WITH CFO SINK
On Wednesday Day, CFO Sink met with
of the University of South Florida, Tallahassee Internship Program
(TIP). The program gives USF students the opportunity to hold
internships at the State Capitol during the legislative session. Once a
week, the group meets with elected officials and other important members
of Florida Government to discuss their experiences and learn about state
Idea of the Week
Review Your Life and Disability Insurance Coverage
It's important that you have enough
insurance to protect your family and your income in the case of death or
disability. Review your insurance needs and plan for the big picture.
Purchasing term-life insurance as a less expensive
alternative to whole life may make more sense when the need for coverage is
greater than available funds. Whole life is useful when the need for life
insurance will extend throughout your life, and can gain equity and may have
Term life can also be an effective tool as an
"option-to-buy" whole life insurance in the future. Many term policies can
be converted to whole life without medical re-evaluation, which is a
valuable asset to purchase in a term policy.
Life insurance needs vary depending on your personal
situation. Your salary supports your family, pays the bills or pays
for college, thus life insurance is important to ensure that these
obligations are covered in the event of your death.
Even more important is the need for
disability insurance to protect your family in case of accident or illness.
Many more families experience disability's need for income than experience
the premature death of a wage earner. Shop with care for a disability
policy - be sure to check
out the company's payment history, and buy a disability policy that covers
“own occupation” not any occupation.
You can contact the
Department of Financial Services Consumer Hotline with additional questions
For more financial savings tips click here
ASSISTANCE CENTER OPENS IN WEST PALM BEACH
The City of West Palm
Beach has joined with national organizations and banks to create a first
of its kind Foreclosure assistance center. The Center is free and is a
dedicated to providing direct solutions to homeowners and the city’s
neighborhoods that have been affected by foreclosures. Residents of the
City of West Palm Beach may visit the Center and speak with counselors
at 464 Fern Street from 9-5 Monday-Friday; or counselors may be reached
by telephone at 561-822-1575. Appointments with counselors are available
on a case-by-case basis for nights and weekends.
Director Emelda Johnson has said the center’s goal is to provide
homeowners the most direct services possible and to be a one-stop
location for resources. In order to receive any benefits from the
Center, City of WPB homeowners must agree to register in a housing
education program for a minimum of 12 months. The Center is focused on
immediate solutions for homeowners facing loss of their property located
in the City of West Palm Beach. The options include direct payment to
mortgagees for payments due up to $10,000; negotiation with the lender
for new loan repayment agreements; purchase of the home should the
lender agree to a “Short Sale”; purchased homes are then available
through the city’s affordable housing program; also assistance with
finding jobs and making a credit recovery plan.
CFO SINK ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT TO RECOVER
ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR POE COMPANIES’ CLAIMS
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that the
Department of Financial Services (DFS) filed a civil lawsuit against
the officers, directors and affiliates of three former Florida
Lawyers for DFS, the court-appointed Receiver of Atlantic Preferred
Insurance Company, Florida Preferred Property Insurance Company and
Southern Family Insurance Company (Poe Companies), have now
determined the state has the right to recover additional money.
DFS’ lawsuit, filed Friday in the Second Judicial Circuit Court,
seeks damages in excess of $100 million from the officers, directors
and affiliates of the now-insolvent insurance companies.
“Florida’s insurance consumers were forced to foot the bill when the
Poe Companies became insolvent so that policyholders could have
their claims paid,” said CFO Alex Sink, who oversees DFS. “We will
aggressively pursue any opportunity to recoup additional funds to
reduce the assessments levied against Florida’s insurance